Club - Association dedicated to a particular interest or activity. Or a blunt weapon. I'll leave the latter to your discretion - the former is the idea we want to deal with today.
I met with several members of the Western Australian Photographic Federation at the recent PhotoLive 2021 at Edith Cowan University. When I say met, I mean pinned them to the wall with a request for a photo. Game souls that they are, they agreed, and I think they look pretty good withal. Their presence at PhotoLive was to promote one of the best ideas there is is photography: fellowship. I hope they had a number of interested visitors and that they can gain new members for their constituent clubs.
This is no idle desire; when new people come to photography, or enthusiasts get to meet like-minded individuals, the whole art advances. I might not bring anything new to the table from one year to the next, but that doesn't stop someone else from getting a brilliant idea...or producing a body of work that enriches us all.
We all know the old saw about no-one being an island. That may be true, but then few people are continents, either. There has to be a sensible medium in the centre somewhere, and in photography it can be found in association with other enthusiasts. We can all benefit from gentle social meetings and moderate levels of instruction, competition, and exchange. Clubs need not be stuffy, nor savage, nor expensive. The best photographic ones are none of these things.
So where do you go to find out? Start at the WAPF website page - google away for it - and look at the list of metropolitan and country clubs. You'll be amazed at how many there are and where they are to be found - I counted 21 metro clubs and 18 country ones. 39 chances to meet other photographers and show your own work off.
The meetings can be centred around competitions, workshops, lectures, photo trips, or social affairs. Most of the clubs have an opportunity to meet somewhere regularly and then to go elsewhere for other events. I can't think that any of them are exclusive in any way, and you get your choice of dedicated specialty organisations or broad-ranging general clubs. Some have quite an attachment to their own district - and their own district may reward this closeness with exhibitions and photo opportunities. I can think of council photo competitions with substantial prizes every year.
There are also state-wide shows that let the members of the clubs work their way up to rather professional exhibition. Big prizes, too.
The best part is the clubs are not expensive in themselves, nor do they require large expenditure by their members on equipment or materials. The digital age has freed a lot of people from big plant outlay while delivering capabilities far beyond what we could once do in a blacked-out bathroom.
Plug for the shop: We love clubs, and support the WAPF and many other individual organisations. They buy stuff from us so we all benefit.
Answer to a question you weren't going to ask anyway: No, I don't belong to a photo club. Not because I don't like 'em - because I have always belonged to a number of other clubs at any one time and there is only so much time you can spend doing hobby activities. The family keep demanding food and clean laundry, drat them, and this cuts into the hobby time something chronic. Perhaps when I am thrown out of my scale model building club for gluing the president to his seat, I will have time to join a photographic club. In the meantime, google up WAPF and go try one yourself.